I have a “Freshman Year” playlist on my iPod.
It’s very small, and wedged in between my behemoth “Country” “Gym” “Indie” and “Christmas” playlists, all of which get a heavy amount of rotation when I’m driving. Although the Christmas one does NOT come out until after Halloween. I need to have some rules when it comes to how many times I can stomach New Kids On The Block’s “This One’s For The Children.” Not that it isn’t a classic. But we get it, Jordan. It’s a very serious message. Just shut up and sing in that falsetto I was in love with as a five year old.
Where was I? Oh yes. The playlist.
i’ll show you, you’re so much better than you know.
It’s a random assortment of songs that all mean a great deal to me. Most of them were blared from my best friend’s computer during the witching hour. I would wake up bleary-eyed at 4 in the morning and creep over to her mouse pad, slowly inching the volume down. Sometimes she would catch me and let me have it. It’s not that I didn’t love the actual tunes coming out of her sound system. I just cannot sleep if the sound isn’t at a decibel only audible to dogs.
So what’s on this playlist? Songs that are sad. Songs that are slow. Songs that really are only played when you’re either deeply in love or horribly depressed. I was definitely the latter my freshman year, as was my best friend. We wore that playlist out. Now, we refer to it as the Suicide Mix. Occasionally, we would wake up in the middle of the night, itching to talk about some pressing issue like boys or schoolwork or our families. No other mix would do. “Do Not Play Unless You Have No Other Choice,” we would joke as she clicked into Kazaa Lite (remember the pre-iTunes days?) and started it up. We’d grab leftover ice cream from our mini-fridge (that also served as the TV stand) and mellow out to the slow, unforgiving melodies.
i will find you darling, i will dry your eyes.
The reason for this walk down memory lane is coming from the yoga studio next to me. I work part time at a wonderful place here in my town, and I get rewarded for my cleaning/dusting/filing/typing efforts with unlimited yoga, a true boon for any athlete whose hips need a good stretch. The teacher instructing the class has on an eclectic mix. Sometimes the teachers play Hindi chants the entire time, some play the drums. I’ve even rocked out a Warrior Three to the wails of Bono as he leads us into a city “Where The Streets Have No Name.” But tonight? Oh, bring on the cooling tones of Sade.
Sade’s “By Your Side” has special meaning to me. When I hear it, I’m automatically in my freshman year dorm, eating ice cream, disposing my deepest secrets to the one who knows me best, and will always know me best. It takes me back to the night we watched cheesy informercials on how to Dial A Date. The time we downloaded old 1950s infomercials on how to use Kotex. Gallons and gallons of chicken fingers from Jonathan’s Burgers from when I would get home late from rehearsal and my roommate would have takeout waiting for me (oh, WHY did you get rid of that place, UCONN? It was a coronary on a plate, but so worth it!). Sitting on the floor after running through the rain and deciding we didn’t have the energy to climb up into our beds, and choosing instead to sleep on the rug. And of course the time when after walking more than two miles in the snow to a callback, we managed to piece together enough money from our spare change box to order Domino’s Pizza, plus some wings (four dollars worth of spare change, people! That takes skills).
oh, when you’re cold, i’ll be there to hold you tight to me.
The friends I acquired at school will last me my entire life. Some I don’t talk to as much as I used to, but all of them hold a deep place in my heart. I will think of them always, and there are times where I don’t really know why they pop into my head. But sometimes, the reason is crystal clear. And sometimes that reason is as simple as “Sade was on the radio.”
When I hear Sade, I remember a very lonely, very sad little girl, who cried as she swayed with the rhythms.
I hear that song now, as a grown, less sad, but wiser woman. I cry. I sway. And I remember.
you think i’d leave your side, baby? you know me better than that.